What do you want?! My head sank as I heard my four-year-old scream at his little sister a question I was guilty of
yelling saying at my daughter all too often. She is currently in that maddening stage of knowing exactly what she wants but cannot clearly communicate all those wants. So she fusses and fits and whines and tantrums and I just.can’t.anymore. Clearly, I had been losing my patience more often than not at the evidence of my screaming four-year-old. And then, I knew. Saying sorry starts with mom.* I needed to apologize to the whole family.
My own mom has told me over and over again whenever the questions and doubts of parenting become overwhelming,
You can only do your best. Pray a lot. And above all else, be quick to ask forgiveness from your children.
I remember her doing just that when I was growing up. During the tumultuous teen years, an epic sassy teen argument would ensue and inevitably my mom would lose her patience. I would slam my way up to my room and like clockwork, she would end up sitting on the edge of my bed apologizing while I gave her the silent treatment. My annoying teen behavior certainly didn’t deserve too much grace, but even during those difficult years my mom set the example that saying sorry starts with mom.
What I learned from my mom’s humble example was that she was not perfect.
She could mess up too. Just like me. And she could set aside her pride to apologize, just as I should. Above all else, her apologies demonstrated how much she loved me. In those moments (silent treatment and all!), I realized she wanted to cultivate a loving relationship filled with respect instead of a domineering, rule driven, I’m-the-boss-you’re-the-kid relationship.
Saying sorry starts with mom and it sets the example for the entire family. We are not perfect, we are guilty of missing the mark, we love each other and we desire healthy relationship.
So, for the one millionth time in my short parenting journey, I set out to apologize and ask forgiveness from my children. I resisted the temptation of mom guilt. Instead, I talked with my son about why his behavior was wrong, but even more, why mommy’s behavior was wrong. He learned it from me and that just wasn’t right. I apologized and asked for forgiveness. And then we both talked to little sissy and asked her to forgive us too.
Will mom mess up again? Uh, duh obviously. Will my kids mess up again – hello, they just got a time out while typing this. But I hope they learn what I learned. Admitting we are wrong is not weak. Apologizing and asking forgiveness demonstrates love and respect. Our family is seeking real relationship with each other and with those we interact with.
Saying sorry starts with mom.
*Let’s be clear, saying sorry starts with mom AND dad but as this is a mom’s blog, I’m focusing on us moms.